Richmond Park London – Perfect day date

Richmond Park is possibly my favourite London park. I love it. And I love Richmond. It is a seriously beautiful part of London and I wish I lived there (just need to win the lottery first).IMG_1315

I’m going to divert slightly from the ‘parent’ theme of this blog and write instead about a great day date I would highly recommend you take your boyfriend / girlfriend on.

I first went to Richmond Park with Tom earlier this year. It was a bright, crisp January day, so we wrapped up in our scarves and gloves ready to brace the cold – my absolute favourite kind of day. I was living in Balham at this point, so we made the short train journey to Clapham Junction for another South West train journey out west. Easy!


When we got to Clapham J, we were met with the dreaded ‘weekend engineering work’ signs and the even more dreaded ‘rail replacement bus service’. Sigh. This really nearly made us head straight back to mine for a lazy duvet day, but I wasn’t going to let stupid South West trains ruin our mini adventure, so we decided to press on and brave the bus.

The bus journey took us part of the way to Barnes station, which after a quick Google, was still easily walkable to the Roehampton Gate entrance of Richmond Park. Although it took around 25 minutes to walk, the walk itself is a spectacle. Walking down Priory Lane, you go straight past the entrance to the National Tennis Centre (we waved to Andy Murray but don’t think he was there), as well as The Priory (yes, the Priory) which is actually a stunning building from the outside, looking more like a castle than a mental health and addiction treatment centre. As we got closer to the park, we ducked down a side street to avoid the busy main road and found ourselves on a quiet residential street where the houses were ridiculous. We had a fun time picking out our favourite, imagining which one we would live in, spotting all the snazzy sport cars parked up outside the private gates and guessing how much they were worth (answer = A LOT).

So it had already been quite an eventful morning before we even arrived at Richmond Park, but eventually we made it and were greeted by a lovely view of green grass, open space and blue skies. Perfect.


Richmond Park is huge. There are so many different paths and trails going off in different directions it’s easy to get lost and end up walking in circles. With our trusty Google Maps, we could vaguely tell which direction we wanted to head in, and set off towards the Richmond Gate.

We walked around the edge of the park, past ponds and wildlife, countless dog walkers and joggers, taking in the fresh air and welcoming the cold which was waking us up from our January blues. We made it to the Richmond Gate, and exited the park for a quick pub lunch at The Roebuck. While here, I made a mental note to bring my dad at some point; a lover of real ales and a member of CAMRA, he would definitely love it.

Feeling refueled and re-energised after our pit stop, we headed straight back into the park after a mandatory stop at Richmond Hill (directly opposite the pub) to take in the views…


The rest of our day consisted of walking, walking and walking (approximately 10 miles in total). We stopped off at the Isabella Plantation to see what beautiful flowers and wildlife it had to offer, and also made it to Pen ponds – a lake divided in two by a path running through the middle. And it wouldn’t be a blog post on Richmond Park without mentioning the deer. ALL THE DEER. They really do just wander freely throughout the park and there are loads of them – it’s pretty cool to see them so close and you really do forget you are only a few miles outside central London.

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Having gone on a winter’s day, light soon started to dwindle and the park closed at around 4.30pm so we looped back round to the Roehampton Gate and headed back to Barnes station for our return journey to Balham. We had a great day and I think it is still up there as one of mine and Tom’s top things we’ve done together. We really like to get out of the city, breathe in fresh air and see open space all around – and Richmond Park definitely provided all of these.

I have since taken my parents to Richmond Park so look out for a blog post on this too, coming soon!

A day out at Kew Gardens London

When I first moved down to London I stayed with a friend in Hanwell. When we looked where this was on a map, my dad noticed it wasn’t very far from Kew Gardens and mentioned how he’d always wanted to visit. How handy that I was going to live so close!

Fast forward 5 weeks and I was having to find a new place to live pretty sharpish (long story), and so I moved into a flat share by Wandsworth Common – a delightful part of London, although not so handy for Kew Gardens anymore.

However, I was committed to taking dad to Kew so on one of their first trips down to visit me, we made the trek out west. Hopping on a Southern train for one stop to Clapham Junction, then changing for the South West train service to Kew Bridge, the journey wasn’t difficult at all. From the station it was about a 20 minute walk to the Elizabeth Gate entrance of Kew Gardens.

Tip: if you want a spot of lunch before your visit, I would highly recommend The Greyhound on Kew Green, perfectly located en route from your walk from the station to the gardens and just a great spot for yummy food and one of the nicest outside seating areas I’ve ever seen. (Fun fact: it was in this lovely pub that Tom met my parents for the very first time – fascinating stuff).


So basically, Kew Gardens is delightful and a wonderful way to while away an afternoon free from the hustle and bustle of central London. My parents (and Tom and I for that matter!) thoroughly enjoyed strolling along the winding paths, admiring the hundreds of beautiful flowers and exotic plants, and spotting different species of wildlife and birds. The vistas, pergoda, treetop walkway, cherry walk and aquatic garden are all so picturesque and peaceful, you forget you are a mere 30 minutes away from central London.

The gardens are vast and there is so much more to see than just flowers and plants – temples, cottages, Kew Palace, a museum, orangery, lake – so definitely pick up a map or download and print one from the website beforehand. We spent a good few hours there and there were still some places we didn’t visit. Although this does give me a good excuse to go back – hurrah.

We visited in May and there were plenty of flowers and plants in full bloom but also some hadn’t quite burst into life yet. I would love to go again and maybe try a summer month to see everything in all its glory.

Adult tickets to Kew Gardens are £14 for a day pass and it is worth every penny.

Exploring London, the parent friendly way

So if you’ve ever moved away from home and lived in a different place to your mum and dad, be that for uni or for work, you’ll know the need to plan a ‘parent friendly’ day trip for when they come and visit. I like to think I’ve had plenty of practice with this, having spent my university years in Leicester and now living around 200 miles away from home.

It’s worth pointing out that I’m very close to my parents and love spending time with them, but I do feel a pang of panic when they say they’re booking train tickets down to see me and, “well why don’t we stay the night too?” “Sure mum! That would be lovely!” I say, while thinking “HOW ON EARTH AM I GOING TO ENTERTAIN THEM FOR TWO WHOLE DAYS??”

Fortunately, living in London means you’re never short of things to do. Or so you might think. I don’t always want to take my mum and dad to a fancy schmancy exhibition at the Tate, or try out the trendy new restaurant with tiny plates of food and huge price tags, or how about a visit to the new pop up hamster cafe? No thanks.

We’re a family who enjoy the simple pleasures; nice walks, fresh air, beautiful scenery and a spot of wildlife. Growing up in rural East Yorkshire certainly helped with this, but they’re probably not the first words that come to mind when you think of London, right? Wrong! When it comes to mum and dad visiting, so far I’ve planned some pretty lovely days out with them (even if I do say so myself) so this blog is going to help you do the same.

I’ll share some of my favourite parent friendly trips and activities, as well as fun days out with the boyfriend too, and hopefully it will give you some new ideas and inspire you to explore different areas of this wonderful city.